Re: Studies suggest modern humans, Neanderthals mated

David J. Tyler (
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 13:18:48 GMT

Glenn Morton wrote:

> I will be interested to see which Neanderthal this is from Vindija. This
> is the site where Neanderthals are found with fully Upper Paleolithic
> Aurignacian stone tools. The conventional wisdom has it that Neanderthals
> were destroyed by modern humans with their 'efficient' tools. Yet at
> Vindija, level G, an Aurignacian point was found in association with
> Neanderthal remains. But this has been known for a while.

Some new C-14 dates have now been published. These support Glenn's
questioning of this "conventional wisdom".

> Of particular importance is a stratigraphic complex of about one metre,
> called complex G. It contains a series of occupation deposits and
> Neanderthal remains, but the odd thing is that its uppermost component,
> level G1, contains Aurignacian rather than Mousterian tools. This stratum,
> a clayey sediment of 8-20 cm thickness, has produced a radiocarbon date
> (from a cave bear long bone, by AMS) of 33,000 +/- 400 BP (ETH-12714). Its
> 56 stone tools and bone points are clearly Aurignacian-like, and there is a
> leaf-shaped bifacial point as found in the Szeletian.

These dates must now be revised. Reference and abstract follows:

Smith, F.H., Trinkaus, E., Pettitt, P.B., Karavani, I and Paunovi, M.
1999. Direct radiocarbon dates for Vindija G1 and Velika Pecina late
Pleistocene hominid remains. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.

New accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates taken directly on
human remains from the Late Pleistocene sites of Vindija and Velika
Peina in the Hrvatsko Zagorje of Croatia are presented. Hominid
specimens from both sites have played critical roles in the
development of current perspectives on modern human evolutionary
emergence in Europe. Dates of 28 thousand years (ka) before the
present (B.P.) and 29 ka B.P. for two specimens from Vindija G1
establish them as the most recent dated Neandertals in the Eurasian
range of these archaic humans. The human frontal bone from Velika
Peina, generally considered one of the earliest representatives of
modern humans in Europe, dated to 5 ka B.P., rendering it no longer
pertinent to discussions of modern human origins. Apart from
invalidating the only radiometrically based example of temporal
overlap between late Neandertal and early modern human fossil remains
from within any region of Europe, these dates raise the question of
when early modern humans first dispersed into Europe and have
implications for the nature and geographic patterning of biological
and cultural interactions between these populations and the

Best regards,
David J. Tyler.